Cleat Geeks

The Blackhawks Backhand

On Sunday, Patrick Kane became the first American to win the Art Ross Trophy, which goes to the top scorer in the NHL each season since 1947-48. The Buffalo native finished the season with a career-high 106 points to outpace the Dallas Stars’ Jamie Benn (89) for the title. Kane finished with career bests in goals (46) and assists (60). “It is an honor being the first American to win the scoring title as there have been so many great hockey players from the United States in the NHL,” Kane said in a statement. “I take a lot of pride in that, but I also take a lot of pride in doing it with the Chicago Blackhawks. I owe a lot to Nov 12, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) looks to pass the puck against the New Jersey Devils during the first period at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sportsmy teammates, coaches and the organization as I couldn’t have done this without them. This has been a special season, but we still have a lot to accomplish as a team and I look forward to another long run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.” Kane became the first Blackhawks player to win the Art Ross since Stan Mikita in 1967-68. Mikita had won it four out of five years, with Bobby Hull taking the honors in 1965-66. Kane had a 26-game point streak (16 goals, 24 assists) from October 17th to December 13th, the longest run by an American-born player. He had a career-best seven-game goal streak from November 2nd to November 15th, 27 multipoint games and his first two regular-season hat tricks. Kane became just one of four players to break the 100-point mark in the past five seasons.

“What a tremendous season for Patrick,” Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said. “He started the season very strong and carried our team with his dominant play early, allowing our team to stabilize and come together as a group throughout the season. Patrick kept pushing the pace all year long and led not only our team but the entire league which demonstrates how impressive his performance was from Day 1 until Game 82.” The Blackhawks will have to wait to see if Kane will win the Hart Trophy, given to the league’s MVP. His linemate Artemi Panarin could win some hardware of his own. He led all rookies in scoring with 77 points and could become the first Blackhawks player to win the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie since Kane in 2007-08.

DavidRundblad

The Blackhawks announced on Monday that they have recalled defenseman David Rundblad from the Rockford IceHogs and reassigned forwards Bryan Bickell and Dennis Rasmussen to Rockford. Rundblad recorded two assists in nine games with the Blackhawks this season, he also added 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) in 10 games with Rockford this year. He registered 16 points (3 goals, 13 assists) in 63 regular games over three seasons with the Blackhawks (2013-15). Rundblad also appeared in five 2015 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Bickell has registered two assists in 25 games with the Blackhawks this season and 31 points (15 goals, 16 assists) in 44 games with Rockford. He recorded 135 points (65 goals, 70 assists) over 384 career regular-season NHL games and 39 points (20 goals, 19 assists) through 75 postseason contests, all with the Blackhawks (2006-15). Bickell was also a member of the Blackhawks’ 2010, 2013, and 2015 Stanley Cup championship teams. He was selected by the Blackhawks in the second round (41st overall) in the 2004 NHL Draft. Rasmussen has tallied nine points (4 goals, 5 assists) in 44 games with the Blackhawks this season. He also added 14 points (7 goals, 7 assists) in 22 games with the IceHogs. Rasmussen registered 27 points (13 goals, 14 assists) and a +9 plus/minus rating in 73 regular-season games with Rockford last year in his North American debut and added five shots on goal in seven Calder Cup contests.

Playoffs

The Blackhawks finished third in the Central Division and the St. Louis Blues are their opponents in the first round of playoffs. They will attempt to become the first team to win back-to-back Stanley Cups since the Detroit Red Wings in the 1997 and 1998 seasons. The Blackhawks dropped Game 1 (1-0) after three scoreless periods and going into overtime. Game 2 is on Friday night and they will try to tie the series.

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